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My Favorite Images of 2015: Macro/Close-up

Happy New Year to all! Each new year brings hope and the prospect of new opportunities for us to pursue.

On April 23, I will host my first Spring Flower Workshop. You will notice that I do not always use a macro lens to capture a nice sharp close-up.  A good zoom lens (like the one your received if you purchased a kit) will give you the range you need to create wonderful close-up images. If your zoom says “macro” on it, you will be able to get a little closer than you would with a regular zoom lens. It is not a 1:1 macro, but you should be able to get close enough to capture many of the small details in your image. I wanted to share some of my macro/close-up images from 2015 to inspire you to get out and explore your surroundings!

This first group of images was taken in Colorado at Garden of the Gods. I saw this as the life span of a thistle. Through the series you can see how it changes over time. These were taken with my Tamron 24 – 75mm f/2.8. I often use it as a carry around lens and it has great close-up capabilities. I love how it blurs the background, but keeps the main image sharp.

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White Trillium

This image will always be special to me. It was taken at the Shoot the Hills weekend photography competition. You are not able to edit your images and you have to choose your best image in each category (approximately 6 images) and turn those in to the judges.  The white trillium was taken with my Sigma 105mm Macro lens using the ring flash. This was my first time participating in the competition; the image won an honorable mention in the Flora Category.

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Here Kitty!

While not a flower; this cat is a nice example of a close-up image. Eyes are in focus and looking straight into the camera!  I had put my camera on the ground and “hoped” it would focus on the right area.  Again, this was taken with my Tamron 24 – 75mm f/2.8.

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Intersecting Lines

I enjoy experimenting with textures and other processing techniques. I try to look for interesting forms and shapes in my surroundings.  This was taken at the Huntington Museum of Art Conservatory. It is a wonderful place to take photographs. Most of the time is is not crowded and it is great to go to on a cold day. The palm branch was processed using the On1 Photo system.

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Follow the Line

I also look for leading lines. The vine entwined itself along the branch of this plant. There is a nice curve for the eye to follow.

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Young Coneflower

Young Coneflower was an image I enjoyed experimenting with. I had photographed the coneflower in front as it developed over several days. I wanted a nice linen texture and painterly feel. I used a combination of Oil Paint filter in Photoshop and did texture layering using On1 Photo. I had it printed on metallic paper with a linen texture. It does have the look and feel of a painting.

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All Alone

This was taken in North Carolina at Thanksgiving. I saw the “lone” leaf sticking up off of a branch in the woods.  This was photographed with my Sigma 120 – 300mm f2.8.  The image was processed in Lightroom.

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Purple Basil

In my opinion, I saved the best for last!  My image, Purple Basil, was captured with the LensBaby Spark.  The Spark comes with multiple disks that you can insert to create interesting shapes out of light.  I did very little processing to this image; just basic adjustments using Lightroom. The morning sun was hitting the leaf just right. I had only a couple of minutes to photograph the leaf and the light was gone!  I print this image on metallic paper and also have had a metal print created. The highly saturated colors pop on the metallic mediums. It won an Honorable Mention at the Foothills Competition in the fall.

I hope you have enjoyed the 2015 recap of my favorite images!  I look forward to sharing more information in 2016!

Watch for notices of my classes and workshops for the upcoming year!

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The Adventure: Day 1 (or Day .5)

Life is an adventure…Life is what we make it…Go for the gusto! We say the clichés, but do we really mean them? I am going to test out those sayings and keep a positive outlook while on my “great trip out west”.

I’ve always wanted to photograph the Grand Canyon, see the Badlands, visit the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, this summer I hope to make it to all of them. To every adventure there is always a beginning.

About 6 years ago I told my daughter I’d take her to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado to do her senior pictures. It is one of those beautiful landmark places I enjoy visiting each time I go to Colorado. The red rock formations are absolutely breath taking! Fast forward to present day.

A week and a half ago I purchased a small, light-weight travel trailer called a Tow Lite…it is a 1994, so I knew it would have a few issues, but over a two week period I figured I could work out all the bugs and have the necessary repairs made to make it “livable”.

The first thing on the agenda was to have the tires checked…it wasn’t going anywhere unless it was safe. All 4 tires were replaced…I took the camper on a “test camp-out” last weekend where I camped for several years and had the “seasoned professionals” give it the once over. I came home with a “new” battery, “new” refrigerator, and a working water heater. The valve was busted in the toilet so I took it to our local dealer for repairs. On my way out to the campground my awning came loose, but the guys locked and tied it for me. I asked them if I should just remove it, but they said since it was locked down it would be fine. I also asked the guys at the RV shop about it and it seemed it would not be an issue.

I had a few other minor repairs and extra add-ons made to make my life easier. I packed my belongings and hit the road.

It takes a little time to get up to speed, but I noticed that once I hit 55 or 60 it rides very smooth. My typical gas mileage of 24 – 25 mpg is now a paltry 15 – 16 mpg….I can deal with it. On the highway it does exceptionally well. I was worried about the turbulence from the semi’s, but It stays in place. I made it to Covington Kentucky…south of Cincinnati Ohio about 5:00pm and of course it was rush hour on a Friday evening and storming, so I decided it was time to enjoy dinner.

We began the last leg of our journey for the day (about 3 more hours) and planned on stopping in Crawfordsville Indiana at the KOA for the night. As I was approaching the 71 – 75 interchange I glanced up into my mirrors and noticed my awning was hanging down! (Insert expletive here). I slowed down and put on my signal so I could get over or off at the exit and find a parking lot to pull off in. Knowing the area well, I took the northbound exit and just as I rounded the curve, the entire awning unfurled, flapping in the breeze! (Insert EXPLETIVE here!)

I pulled off and put on my hazard lights and contemplated my next move. I pulled out my ratchets (Yes, I carry tools!) and started to work on the lock nuts holding it in place. The entire housing the awning “was” connected to had shattered, dry rotted I’m sure, and was hanging by the rope that had it locked into place. I took the lock nuts off the bolts and tried to disconnect the awning from the frame…mind you in the rain, wearing nice clothes and sandals! Many people drove past. I was able to disconnect the one side without an issue, but the other was wedged into place.

I walked over to the car and pulled out my insurance card…thank you Alan Harner for roadside assistance for my RV and was going to make the call when a young man…a very young man pulled up in his little red sports car convertible and asked if I needed help. He would have made my day except for the bulge of smokeless tobacco in his jaw…eew! It was help and he was friendly. He was worried about damaging the awning…”aw shucks!” I told him not to worry about it. He was able to free the other side and he rolled it up, quite neatly for me. We started to load it into the camper and I told him I could raise it up to make it easier.

Being a Hi-Lo Travel Trailer, it raises up. His comment was “that’s nifty!” I secured the rest of the camper and on the road I went again. Being late and dark and having two dogs and my daughter with me, I exercised my rights tonight to spend the night in a Comfort Inn in Crawfordsville Indiana.

We will continue our adventure tomorrow, on to Sioux Falls, South Dakota….I hope!! 🙂

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